10 December 2012

Liberia: How Dr. Kollie Kept His Guests Waiting

Time negligence among Liberians particularly at public functions is becoming customary even among officials of government, who are expected to set examples in the society.

People often arrive at programs when the ceremony is in the middle or about to end. If said program were slated for 3pm, people would usually go there 30 or 45 minutes late. Government officials and sometimes guest speakers usually arrived at occasions late after the program has started.

The latest incident occurred over the weekend when the Acting Minister of Finance Dr. James Kollie, kept the United States Ambassador here, Deborah Malac; representatives of the Norwegian and Kenya governments and other foreign diplomats and journalists awaiting his arrival at a signing ceremony.

Dr. Kollie was one of the key signatories to the US$9million grant the United States Government gave to the Liberia Electricity Corporation last week to expand electricity to the capital and its environs. The Acting Finance Boss was to sign for the Government of Liberia, while Ambassador Malac was to sign for her government.

The program was slated for 11:30am on Thursday, December 6, 2012, and the Ambassador plus the rest of the foreign guests were seated five minutes before 11:30, awaiting the arrival of Acting Minister Dr. Kollie.

But the Acting Minister, apparently enjoying the confidence of Liberian time didn't showed up for the program until 12:45 pm when he was seen rushing into the LEC conference room dressed in coat suit after keeping the guests waiting for half an hour.

Though he did not give any reason for his lateness, but Dr. Kollie was quickly ushered to his seat to begin the signing ceremony, which started immediately and the entire program lasted for 15minutes.

What was really disgusting at the program was that it appeared like it was the Government of Liberia providing the grant rather than the other way around because the U.S. Ambassador, who actually brought the grant on behalf of her government, was on time, waiting for a representative of Liberian government to arrive.

Many persons have described the minister's action as embarrassing for public officials, who are expected to set the pace for official conduct and punctuality at functions.

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